Home foreclosures are on the rise in Massachusetts and many pets are losing their homes as well as their families. Listed below are several options to help keep you and your pet together through these trying times. If after reading this page you still have questions, please contact your local MSPCA Animal Care and Adoption Center for further advice. Click here for locations and contact information.
Never Abandon Your Pet
Pets have been left behind, abandoned in their homes, when owners vacate. The MSPCA Law Enforcement department wishes to remind pet owners of their responsibility to their companion animals. It is against the law to abandon an animal in Massachusetts and owners could face felony animal cruelty charges for doing so. Under the felony animal cruelty law, fines of $2500 and/or up to five years in prison can be imposed.
If foreclosure seems imminent, look for alternatives to surrendering your pet well in advance:
Look for pet-friendly living accommodations where you will be relocating. Check newspaper ads, real estate management companies and/or talk with your local humane society or animal control officer to see if they can provide information on pet friendly apartments.
Consider a temporary living arrangement for your pet. Perhaps a friend or family member would be willing to provide foster care until you find a new home that will allow for your pet to join you.
If temporary housing is not an option and you need to rehome your pet, screen potential adopters carefully. When placing an ad, make sure you ask for an adoption fee. Do not offer your pet as a FREE TO GOOD HOME.
As a last resort, call your local humane society or animal control facility. It is a far better choice for pet and human to surrender your pet to an adoption center or shelter than to abandon an animal.
Make a Great Impression
If you need to relocate, reluctant landlords might be persuaded to allow a pet if you can provide documentation to support that you are a responsible pet owner. Be sure to have veterinary records to demonstrate that your pet has had a relationship with a veterinarian. Show proof of required vaccinations, including rabies, and that your pet is spayed or neutered. A reference letter from a veterinarian might also be helpful.
Indoor animals make better pets and better neighbors. Keep cats indoors. Dogs should always be supervised and walked on a leash. Both dogs and cats should wear proper identification that includes a collar, tag and microchip. (Should your pet get lost or lose a collar and tag, a microchip is the best guarantee you will be reunited. Be sure to update the microchip manufacturer with current information including your new address, phone, veterinarian, etc.)
If Cost of Care is an Issue
While you are trying to get back on your feet, there may be options to help you keep your pet. If your pet is not already spayed or neutered, look into low-cost spay/neuter programs. The MSPCA’s Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) helps pet owners with a financial need. Click here for more information on SNAP. If moving out of state, contact the humane society where you are moving to see if they have or can recommend low cost spay/neuter options.
Low cost rabies vaccination clinics may be offered through local humane societies or animal hospitals. Some clinics may offer low cost microchipping for a nominal charge.
Shop around for a hospital or clinic in your new location. Inquire about financial assistance or payment plans that might be offered.